Towson spray-painting prompts bill to regulate markings for running events

The Baltimore County Council is consider new rules for races that are run through neighborhoods after receiving complaints that organizers of a recent event spray-painted streets in Towson.

Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican who represents Towson, wants to regulate races like parades, requiring them to use non-permanent course markings and notify the community about proposed routes.

"It's good to give neighbors more information," said Marks, who introduced the bill at Monday's council meeting.

Marks received complaints following the Retro Run 5K that was held in Towson on Sept. 21. Organizers used white spray paint to draw arrows and the word "Retro" on neighborhood streets.

Resident Kathy Keys Osborn said she's used to seeing footraces in her neighborhood, but never before had seen organizers use spray paint.

"It was just appalling. It was a lack of consideration," she said.

Retro Race 5K organizer Brad Jaeger, CEO of Running Maryland, said he's OK with Marks' proposal, but said he's used spray-paint arrows in scores of races in Baltimore County and other counties.

Jaeger said when he picked up his permit from the county, he was never told about any rules for marking the course.

After receiving complaints, Jaeger said his team went back and spray-painted over the white arrows to make them blend in better with the dark asphalt. He said he considered power-washing the arrows, but was still fuming about the complaints.

Marks' bill will be scheduled for a vote in early November.

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